01:05 PM

Anonymous Launches OpIsrael DDoS Attacks After Internet Threat

Hacktivist collective said the attacks are in response to the Israeli government threatening to sever all Internet connections to and from Gaza strip.

Who Is Anonymous: 10 Key Facts
Who Is Anonymous: 10 Key Facts
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The hacktivist group Anonymous Thursday announced that it would begin launching online attacks against a number of Israeli government sites, as part of its ongoing Operation Israel (OpIsrael).

The Anonymous distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks began at 10 a.m. Israeli time (3 a.m. Eastern time).

"Since this morning they've been trying to take down several Israeli websites, including the prime minister's website, the IDF [Israel Defense Force] website, banks, airlines, and so on," said Ronen Kenig, director of product marketing for security products at Radware, speaking by phone from Tel Aviv. "They published a list of four to five attack tools that they've asked their supporters to use, including the mobile LOIC, and network flooding attack tools." In addition, he said, attackers have been launching brute-force attacks against the IDF's blog, in an attempt to find working access credentials.

[ Read 10 Strategies To Fight Anonymous DDoS Attacks. ]

To date, however, the attacks -- which Kenig characterized as being "well coordinated" -- appear to have had minimal effect against the public-facing websites. "Some websites have suffered from defacements," he said. "None of the government ones, but some private ones that may relate somehow to military equipment have been defaced."

The Anonymous-organized attacks were preceded one hour earlier by the uploading of an Anonymous-issued statement to AnonPaste. It said that the Anonymous DDoS attacks were a response to Israel's reported threat to disconnect Gaza Strip from the Internet. "When the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand," according to the statement.

In case the Gaza Strip's Internet connection does get severed, the Anonymous statement included a link to a downloadable "Care Package For Gaza," which is a 1 MB zipped file that it said "contains instructions in Arabic and English that can aid you in the event the Israel government makes good on it's (sic) threat to attempt to sever your Internet connection," as well as tips "on evading IDF surveillance."

The zipped file includes two documents, both written in Arabic and English. One is an oft-reprinted 2007 guide to basic first aid written by an Egyptian physician, Dr. Ehab El-Said Mohamed. The other, titled "TechGuideForInternetShutDownGAZA.pdf," tells people that if their Internet connection gets severed, they should attempt to find a short-wave radio and build a 65.5-foot antenna.

By comparison, the Anonymous DDoS attacks are more advanced. According to Radware, the attackers have been using SYN floods via TCP/IP, initiating more connection requests to a server than it can handle, which can make it unreachable. They've also been using ICMP attacks, which floods a network by exploiting misconfigured network devices to broadcast large quantities of packets to all devices connected to that network.

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